以前、そば と うどん の違いについて説明できるか
＼What’s the difference?／
Years ago, when I was still living in England, I watched the Studio Ghibli film ‘Pom Poko’. Pom Poko is the story of a family of tanuki who are trying to save their home from being destroyed by the construction of a new road. Tanuki are, of course, small bear-like creatures native to Japan. At that time, I didn’t know what tanuki were. I thought they were a kind of badger (穴熊). In England there are lots of badgers. They often feature in children’s stories and cartoons. In cartoons, badgers are usually shown to be friendly and wise, but in Pom Poko, the tanuki were mischievous (わんぱく) and a little violent!
What’s the difference between a tanuki and a badger? I thought. I checked the internet. It seems tanukis are usually brown and black, but badgers are black and white. Also, the tanuki is similar to a fox or a dog, whereas the badger is more similar to a raccoon.
This is a very useful question in English when two things seems similar:
What’s the difference between _______ and _______?
①What’s the difference between a tanuki and a badger?
②What’s the difference between soba and udon?
③What’s the difference between rugby and American football?
It is even useful for asking grammar questions:
Q: What is the difference between ‘look at’ and ‘watch’?
A: We use ‘look at’ to talk about things which don’t move eg. I looked at a magazine / we looked at some paintings, whereas we use ‘watch’ to talk about something moving eg. I watched a soccer match / I watched my kids play in the park
We can use the word ‘whereas’ or ‘but’ between the answers to show the contrast:
Soba is a kind of thin noodle, whereas udon is a kind of thick noodle
American football players wear pads and helmets, but rugby players don’t
Try asking your instructor some ‘What’s the difference between _______ and _______?’ questions in your next lesson!
A few years ago, I thought I saw a tanuki late at night when I was walking home. It was dark and I saw an animal run across the road and into the tall grass. My friend said it was probably not a tanuki. She told me that they are not so common in Yokohama. I wonder what it was?